Film light: Meaning and emotion

Film light: Meaning and emotion

by Lara Thompson


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Light is fundamental to cinema. Without it the image could not be made or seen. But for all light's dominance of cinematic form, its affects have hitherto been ignored or overlooked, dismissed as either too pervasive or too inconspicuous, marginalised amidst discussions of technique, mise-en-scene and film noir.

Film light attempts to readdress this balance. As one of the first monographs of its kind to focus on the aesthetic and emotional impact of lighting in cinema, it looks at the way light informs the cinematic experience, from constructing iconic star identities, sculpting natural light and creating imaginary worlds, to opposing states of darkness, shadows and black space, fading nostalgic representations of the past and arresting twilight encounters.

The book includes analyses of over fifty renowned international films, discussed in inventive and illuminating combinations, from cinema's earliest glass-roof moments to its most recent digital manifestations, including: The Passion of Joan of Arc, Aliens, Blue Velvet, Persona, Three Colours: Blue, The Third Man, City of God and The Social Network.

This groundbreaking and accessible introductory study offers a unique insight into the way illumination has transcended its diffuse functional boundaries and been elevated to a position of narrative and emotional importance, transforming it from an unobtrusive element of film style to an expressive and indispensable component. It is essential reading for all those who want to understand what film light means and how it makes us feel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780719086335
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2015
Pages: 172
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Lara Thompson has written widely on film and cinema studies

Table of Contents


Part I: The presence of light

1. Identity

2. Authenticity

3. The imaginary

Part II: The absence of light

4. Mystery

5. The past

6. The magic hour



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